Friday, June 17, 2011


Proverbially, we are told that "shit happens". Logically, we tend to ignore such a sentiment until the "shit" happens to us. When "shit" is a direct consequence of one's own action or decision, it's easy to digest and move on. Occasionally, though, insane, seemingly random occurrences of "shit" seem to crawl from sewer drains, cracks in the drywall and corners of the closet to introduce a complication that is impossibly brutal and cannot be prepared for. This random, brutal "shit" and I have been introduced.

Without getting into too many deliciously juicy details from a gore-junkie's wildest imagination (and for the protection of all involved), I was recently involved in a rather bad (and I am told that is an understatement) car accident. Bad enough that I have been out of commission for some time, but after 6 weeks am slowly transitioning into my life as it was prior to the accident. The event has had several impacts, many long-term ones that will likely manifest in mental scarring (which isn't necessarily a negative). But in relation to what this blog is supposed to be about, how my main hobby-hoping-to-go-business is affected, the impact was surprisingly high. But, again, that is not necessarily a negative either.

The most obvious impact would be my lack of a camera system. My camera died a tragic death in the accident, as well as the lens attached to it. Warranties do not cover such damage as missing mode dials, cracked casings, dirtied silicone and sticky-from-the-red-stuff focus rings. And as much as the system I had assembled was something with which I could work wonders, it is unlikely to ever be reassembled as the camera body is no longer made and the lens has become increasingly rare (prices compared to when originally purchased are simply prohibitive). My system is now incomplete, with 2 lenses left and the various accessories.

In this situation I have 3 choices that reflect reason: A) Purchase a camera body that works with my remaining equipment but is not a body that fits within my concept of a pro-grade tool, B) Sell the remaining gear for what it's worth and change systems entirely, effectively starting from scratch and at a loss, and C) Purchase a pro-grade compact as a stand-in for the time being and wait to see what comes out new this Fall that fits within the system I had. As much of a trial of patience as it is, I went the C route. For now, my only camera is an Olympus XZ-1, the best (in my opinion, anyway) pro-grade compact available. It will serve all the purposes I require of a camera for the time being, and when the next oh-la-la camera comes along that tempts my wallet, I will then have both a complete system for professional work and a compact for those nights out with friends when the bulk isn't reasonable. AND the extra time necessary for the next oh-la-la camera to come out gives me ample time to save up the funds necessary to buy both it and a replacement for the lens lost in the accident. Provided my patience holds fast, I should come out the other end of this with an improved tool set that, barring further intervention of random fate, should last me for a long time.

Amusingly, I was scheduled to sign the lease on my new studio at the Bromo Seltzer Tower the day after the accident occurred. I was lucky to have family both involved and interested in preserving that space for me once I got back on my feet - the studio was held pending my return to the living. As it stands I'm scheduled to sign a revised lease and acquire the space early at the start of next month, but my original intent on the use of the space has gone through some necessary modification. Without a competent system camera, I'm not likely to be investing in new studio lights and backdrops and other such things intended for model shooting. Truth be told, I lack the drive I had prior simply because it takes more energy now to pursue things that used to come on their own when I was at prime. Model, product and event photography have taken a backseat to photographic exploits that require far less involvement and stress, exploits that equate to sketching to more traditional artists. I'm not mentally or physically in a position to pursue the professional ideal, and as such the studio will more than likely end up more an exhibit of work I've already done for the time being. Printing, matting, framing, and maybe even some editing of those sketches I snap to keep my skills keen. Until I am once again functioning at least near to my fullest potential the studio will be my miniature gallery.

It is disappointing that I won't be able to chase down the business elements of photography like I originally intended. Money will not be made, gigs will not be booked, clients will not be met, rapport will not be built. However, all of these things will be realized eventually, given sufficient time. And in the time I have, a very important element of this business ideal can still be pursued. Advertising. Image. I will have the time to shape a face for my business uninterrupted by the business itself. A sort of head start. When Kneejerk was first brewing in my brain there were hundreds of ideas floating about that never saw any attention because the act of taking pictures was too distracting. Now I have at least a few months to let those ideas come forward, polish them off and put them into practice.

Typically I feel like traumatic events like this accident shouldn't affect the victim over the long term. Surely a few months down the road, once reintroduced to normal life, the old habits set back in and the personality resumes from the point it had left off. Technically I'm still in the wake of the episode so my opinion right now is horribly biased. There are a few sentiments that I used to hold and bury deep down that died in this accident, though. Not items that I will openly talk about, but certainly baggage that I'm glad to be done with and bid adieu. As terrible a thing the accident was, I will come away from it with some very happy realizations. Amazing how clear things become when the contrast between one's lowest low and those wonderful things worth hanging onto is cranked to 11. It is good to know for sure what matters.